The AirRail Melbourne consortium comprises IFM Investors and key stakeholders Melbourne Airport, Metro Trains Australia and Southern Cross Station, and would leverage finance from the superannuation sector.

AirRail Melbourne is proposing to match the $A 5bn funding commitments previously announced by each of the current Victorian and Federal governments to build the link.

The announcement comes only a few days after the Victorian state government opened a registration of interest (ROI) for the project. Its business case, in partnership with the federal government, is currently underway with construction envisaged to start by 2022.

Rail Projects Victoria will lead the ROI process and assess organisations with the experience and capability to help bring the project to fruition, as well as gauging the interest of private sector investors.

The AirRail proposal is unsolicited and largely follows the project as put forward in July this year by the Victorian Government, though AirRail says it would be construction-ready in late 2020, two years earlier than planned.

Its proposal would see:

  • 20 minute travel time to the city, using a redeveloped Sunshine station super-hub in suburban Melbourne to provide greater access for regional passengers,
  • trains running around the clock, departing every 10 minutes during peak periods,
  • one-way tickets at less than $A 20 at today’s prices, and
  • 27km of new track and twin rail tunnels to deliver a premium airport rail service and open up additional capacity for rail services to Melbourne’s booming west.

“The investment proposal represents a significant opportunity for people to invest in a nation-building project through their superannuation funds,” says IFM Investors chief executive, Mr Brett Himbury. “A partnership between the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments demonstrates the universal support for this essential project which has transformed talk of a Melbourne Airport Rail Link into a viable project.”

“With Melbourne soon to become Australia’s largest city our infrastructure needs to keep pace,” says Melbourne Airport CEO, Mr Lyell Strambi. “Key to this is the development of the airport with a near doubling of passengers over the next 20 years. As we expand we will also need world-class linkages between the airport, city and regional Victoria. Our vision is for a seamless passenger experience at the airport, properly integrated between the carriage and the terminal.”